Isaiah 28:16 “So this is what the Lord GOD says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation; the one who believes will never be shaken.”
In the 14th century BC Bethlehem was a city-state named after the goddess Beit Lahmu. Later it was called Ephrata (Genesis 35:16) and was also referred to in the Hebrew Bible as Beit Lehem. In Hebrew “Beit” means house/home/household and “Lechem” means bread/Manna/nourishment or even battle. Commonly the name is understood to mean House of Bread.
This small town was a centerpiece of historical significance.
Micah 5:2 “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come forth for Me One to be ruler over Israel—One whose origins are of old, from the days of eternity.”
The town of Ephrathah, or Bethlehem, was and continues to be significant today. History shows that Rachel, Jacob’s wife, was traveling to this small town as she went into hard labor and died giving birth to Benjamin….her grave remains there today. Whether it has been tragedy or triumph, this little town has seen its share of significant moments.
John 6:35 “Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; the one coming to Me never shall hunger, and the one believing in Me never shall thirst at any time.”
Just as Beit-Lahmu signified house of bread, Jesus became that Bread of Life for us today.
To those who hunger for righteousness, He promises to fill them.
As this year comes to a close and with all that it has brought, what is it you hunger for today? Whether the wish is for good health, a steady job, or comfort in affliction, the substance of God’s provision is ample enough to fill the need.
Insecurity is the rule of the thumb in a pandemic wearied world and yet there remains a steadfastness that has always remained…a cornerstone that cannot be moved.
The cornerstone of a foundation is traditionally the stone by which the building has established. The cornerstone of God’s church is Jesus Christ and He is the centerpiece of God’s Kingdom both now and forevermore.
When God sets a foundation, it cannot be moved.
Matthew 21:42-44 “Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures:
‘The stone which the builders rejected
Has become the chief cornerstone.
This was the Lord’s doing,
And it is marvelous in our eyes’?
“Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a nation bearing the fruits of it. And whoever falls on this stone will be broken; but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder.”
This stone can either provide strength or it can be the means by which worldly strength is crushed. The crushing is not just a means of vengeance but it reduces the powers of this world to the point where only the Lord is exalted and none other.
The hope is that those who have trusted in any other god will finally look to the One who is exalted above all others.
Are you looking for peace today? Well then, there is only one place to look.
Matthew 10:34 “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”
The phrase “peace on earth, good will toward men”, has been used in songs and cards for generations and yet Jesus made it very clear that He came for a different purpose.
The peace that the world so eagerly longed for at the birth of Christ has been found, but not in the way they were looking. Worldly peace is a concept of a world without war, where mankind shows good will toward one another…in essence, a utopian society. We know that as long as sin exists in this world, peace will not be found.
The peace that Jesus brought into the world bridged the divide between God and mankind. It can only be found by embracing the cross, not denying it. For those who reject the stone that God laid in Zion, it will crush the heads of those who reject Him. To those who build their house upon His rock….it will provide stability, strength, security, and the peace of mind that their house is founded in Him.
In meekness and majesty the King has already come, the reminder of this hope is as evident today as it was 2000 years ago in that small little town.
Bethlehem is still there, filled with tourist shops it sits outside Jerusalem and serves as a reminder of an epic moment so long ago. The Prince of peace who made this place so significant then, still brings peace today….for those who seek it.
To find peace, you must first look to the One who holds it and you will find all you have been missing.
Then know—- that the strength of God’s power—-His Rock—-will sustain you no matter what the next year will bring.